Nigerians who consume cowhide aka ‘ponmo’ have been given a health warning by a cow hide veterinary consultant.
Dr Tijjani Salisu, a Veterinary Consultant, has warned people to desist from consuming cowhide, popularly known as “ponmo’’, which is prepared with fire from burning tyres because of its health consequences.
He gave the warning on Thursday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna.
According to him, consumption of meat or cowhide prepared with tyre fire has some negative effects, not only on human beings but also on the environment as a whole.
Salisu said that burning tyres contained some toxic materials which posed serious health hazards to humans and the soil, adding that the substances could also pollute water and air.
“Roasting slaughtered animals with tyres releases some harmful elements into the hide or skin of the animal which diffuse into its body beyond acceptable limits,” he said.
He said that apart from the health effects of consuming hides prepared with tyre fire, the residues of the burnt tyres could be washed into the soil and water sources in the event of rainfall.
“When such polluted waters are consumed by humans, the effect will be the same as the effect of consuming cowhide processed with fire from burning tyres,” he said.
Besides, Salisu said that the tyre burning process would also cause air pollution, which could trigger asthma attacks in asthmatic patients, for instance.
“It could also lead to serious respiratory infections, especially in children, due to the thick smoke and smell it produces.
“If five tyres are used daily to process slaughtered animals in an abattoir; you can then imagine the quantity of fumes released into the atmosphere every day by slaughterhouses across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria,” he said
The consultant stressed that efforts to make savings by burning meat with discarded tyres instead of fuel would be counterproductive if its public health implications were taken into consideration.
He called on the regulatory agencies to properly regulate the operations of slaughterhouses across the country so as to ensure that slaughtered animals were processed in ways that were not detrimental to the people’s health and the environment.